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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Chair, Czech v.Prime Minister, to EuroFora on Eastern Partnership: Ukraine has "Special position"

EU Chair, Czech v.Prime Minister, to EuroFora on Eastern Partnership: Ukraine has "Special position"

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 05 May 2009
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    Regardless of "Antonov" Airplane cooperation prospects, Ukraine has a "Special position" and "a Prominent role to play", "in the Multilateral part of EU's Eastern Partnership", while also keeping "its own system of cooperation with the EU", said EU Chairman-in-office, Czech vice-Prime Minister for EU affairs, Alexandr Vondra, in reply to "EuroFora"'s question, without denying Kiev's aspiration to eventually become in future also a Candidate to EU accession.


    Vondra, together with EU Parliament Foreign Committee's President, Polish MEP Jacek Saryuz-wolski, had just presented to Journalists in Strasbourg, the aims of the forthcoming EU Summit for the launch of the "Eastern Partnership" with 6 Countries : Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaidjan, at nearby Prague on Friday, May 8.

- "How does this fit with Ukraine's wish to advance towards an eventual EU accession in the future ?", asked "EuroFora".

 - "I think Ukraine is in a Special position, of course", the Czech EU Chairman in office agreed.

- "It has its own System of cooperation with the EU, so I would expect that Ukraine, as the largest country from the others, will be in the Multilateral part of the Eastern Partnership", he replied.

He earlier explained that its "Menu" will be composed both by "Multilateral" and "Bilateral" aspects and various "tools" from which each country could "choose".

- "I think we can rely on the Active Engagement of Ukraine, and certainly we shall have this... So, we expect the Highest Level participation, and, certainly I would expect Ukraine to have a Prominent role to play", Vondra added.

Vondra revealed, in his reply to "EuroFora", that he "was just talking with (Ukranian vice Prime Minister) Hrihoriy Nemyrya, in entering the (Strasbourg's EU Parliament) building" "We (Czech EU Chair) are working closely with Ukraine", he underlined.

During the last EU - Ukraine Summit, with Presidents Sarkozy, Jushenko and Baroso, of France, Ukraine and EU Commission respectively, the French EU Chairman on September 2008 in Paris had anounced EU's crystal-clear acknowledgement that Ukraine was unquestionably "un European Country" and offered an "Association Agreement". I.e. similar to those that former Central-Eastern European Countries had initially concluded before becoming, later-on, EU Candidates and ultimately EU Members, as Jushenko reminded then.

Paradoxically, Turkey, a mainly Asiatic country with an obviously different culture and grave Human Rights problems, including Military occupation, threats or interventions in neighboring countries, profiting from its Cold-War Past, snatched back in 1999 a controversial EU Candidate status, while Ukraine, a peaceful European country with historic European Culture and High-Tech industry, without equally grave Human Rights problems, has yet to struggle in 2009, to get a promise for a European perspective in future...

 - "Eastern Partnership is not a substitute to EU Enlargment", and "its' not directed against anyone, and, in particular, not against Russia, who doesn't wish to take part, and has other links to the EU, Vondra added.

An important boost to EU - Ukraine links, (which may benefit also to Russia), might be given not only by the well known Energy Transport issues (by Pipelines and/or Ships, via the Black Sea and Danube), could be given also in case of a cooperation between Airbus and Ukranian "ANTONOV's aircraft production capacities :

While Vondra found the "Time too short" to reply to a 2nd "EuroFora"'s question on a possible Airbus - Ukranian ANTONOV cooperation to build an efficient European strategic Military Transport Airplane, costing less, and being more efficient and timely than an old plan for a Turkey-sponsored "A400M"' plane, whose delivery has delayed and become uncertain, on the contrary,EU's Rapporteur on the 7th Scientific and Technologocal Research framework Program, mainsteam Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek, (ChristianDemocrat/EPP), a former Prime Minister, was enthousiastically positive :

 - "It's a very good idea, and I am sure that they (Ukrania's ANTONOV) would like to do that, and are able to achieve it", replied Buzek to "EuroFora"'s question whether he found more useful for European Countries to develop a more performant but cheaper Military Transport Airplane in a cooperation fex. between Airbus and Antonov, instead of waiting, again and again, for the old Airbus A400M, with its limited capacities, to be delivered from its strange and repeated setbacks and deadlocks in mass production, which were recently denounced even by a Report drafted by the French Senate..

Russia also had reportedly shown an interest in the past to cooperate with Antonov and EU countries to jointly create a new airplane, and this possibility might, eventually, be anew explored to satisfy the present European needs in the best way possible for EU's High Technology and funds.

Meanwhile, Saryuz-wolski indicated to "EuroFora" that, as EU Parliament will confirm this week in Strasbourg also by writting in a special Resolution, Eastern Partenship's Parliamentary dimension, "EuroNEST", intends to follow the example of the Union for the Mediterranean's Assembly, by bringing together 60 MEPs not only from the neighbouring but from all those interested among EU's 27 Member States : It's well known, indeed, that several other EU Countries have close links with the Black Sea area area, via big Investments, Ship transports, etc.
Meanwhile, Vondra is reportedly due to pass later-on EU's relay baton to a renewed Czech Government, his main successor expected to be the forthcoming New Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Jan Kohout.

Kohout, who is well known in Strasbourg from his earlier visits, has already stressed to "EuroFora" Czech Republic's wish to examine carefully Foreign Policy issues, while also boosting Renewable Energy sources, Modern Technologies, Education, etc, as key-tools both for EU's independence and security, and for enhanced cooperation with developing countries accross the World, and mainly in Africa and Asia.

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(+ New Czech deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Jan Kohout, replying to another "EuroFora" question at an earlier meeting in Strasbourg : 3rd, at the right side).
 

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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
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French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
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- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
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    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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